It was July 4th, 1998. I was 7 months into chemotherapy for leukemia and I had already had 40 different treatments. When I wasn’t flat on my back in the hospital, nearly all my waking hours were spent at home, sitting in front of the television. My only “exercise” was getting up to eat or use the restroom.
That day some friends of mine offered to pick me up and take me to Siesta Key Beach to watch the fireworks. We got there around noon and we sat on beach chairs for several hours. It was packed.
At one point, my friends wanted to go get some food, but we knew that if we drove anywhere than we might not be able to find a parking space when we came back. We decided to walk.
Our target destination was the Siesta Key shopping village, which was about a mile away. A few minutes into our walk, I began to get winded. After a few hundred yards, I got so exhausted that I had to sit down.
As I sat down, I began to worry about what was happening. My vision was getting blurred, my heart was pounding, and I honestly felt like something was seriously wrong. I tried to act tough around my two friends, but they could tell I was in really bad shape.
“Should we call the ambulance?” my friend Jeff said.
“No, I’ll be OK, just give me a minute.” I told him.
One minute turned into several minutes. Thankfully, after a while, my vision and my breathing returned to normal.
My friends knew that I wasn’t going to be able to make the walk to the village, so they went ahead without me. I slowly and cautiously made my way back to our chairs, this time stopping a few times along the way.
When I got back to the chairs, the reality of what just happened began to sink in.
I’m 16 years old and I can’t even walk a few blocks without feeling like I’m going to pass out, I thought to myself. This is bad!!
Every year, around the 4th of July, I think about that day. This week marks 20 years since it happened and as I’m preparing to play in my 5th full court adult league basketball game today, I am rejoicing over how far I’ve come. I consider it a miracle from God.
Long story short, In October of 1998 I began to exercise and I have never stopped. Over the next 22 months, I studied everything I could find to try and figure out how to transform my body and I implemented many things as possible.
I was OBSESSED. Everything in my life centered around what I had to do to get fit. 6-7 days a week in the gym, sometimes two workouts in a day, nearly every meal planned and prepared, nearly every supplemental habit implemented. There was no trying to “fit it in” around other things. Other things were fit in around those things.
When those 22 months were over, I had lost nearly 80 pounds of body fat, added nearly 40 pounds of muscle, was healed of the cancer, and I was physically able to do anything I wanted. It was absolutely euphoric.
I began this journey thinking that there had to be an easy way. Sadly, I had been duped by advertising that told me I could have a perfect body in 90 days, instant pain relief, and physical transformation in just minutes a day. What I learned is that there is no easy way. But…there is a way.
I stand here 20 years later with not a single regret over all the time, energy and money I invested into transforming my body. Thankfully now all I have to do is maintain it, which is much, much easier.
If you are in a difficult situation physically, or have some lofty health goals that seem unattainable, please know there is hope. If you do enough of the right things and you do them for long enough, you can make changes that can absolutely shock you.
Thanks for bringing me on the journey with you. God bless!